Cry-Baby (1990)

PG-13 | 85 mins | Musical comedy | 6 April 1990

Director:

John Waters

Writer:

John Waters

Producer:

Rachel Talalay

Cinematographer:

David Insley

Editor:

Janice Hampton

Production Designer:

Vincent Peranio

Production Company:

Imagine Entertainment
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HISTORY

For the Summary, AFI Catalog viewed the 2005 “director’s cut,” which included material not in the theatrical version.
       End credits contain the following information: “Special thanks to: The Baltimore City Film Commission and to the citizens of Baltimore for their cooperation and assistance. Maryland State Film Commission; Maryland House of Correction; Al Teller; Valley Gun of Baltimore; Bostonian Bucks; Jody Graham Dunitz; Don Passman; Frank Oliver; Compu Weather; Beverly Marable.” Acknowledgments also state: "Life magazine logo and trademark used with permission of the Time Inc. Magazine Company."
       Director John Waters claimed he asked actor Paul Reubens, better known as children’s television show host “Pee-Wee Herman,” to play one of the “square” parents, according to the 18 May 1989 Providence Journal. Claiming Pee-Wee was “already square,” Reubens reportedly suggested he should instead portray sleazy photographer “Toe-Joe Jackson.” However, Reubens’ manager turned down the role because he perceived Toe-Joe to be a “pornographer.”
       The film’s unusual casting call described the character “Mona ‘Hatchet-Face’ Malnorowski” as having “the body of Jayne Mansfield and the face of Margaret Hamilton,” the 5 Mar 1989 LAT reported. Casting director Pat Moran told the 15 Mar 1989 LAHExam that Waters wanted Hatchet-Face to be “ugly but proud of it.”
       The 18 Apr 1989 HR noted that principal photography began the previous day. The film wrapped in very late Jun or early Jul 1989, according to the 5 Jul 1989 Philadelphia Inquirer. At a cost of $8 million, Cry-Baby was filmed in the Baltimore, MD, area and took fifty-nine days to shoot, the 11 Sep 1989 People reported. At least ... More Less

For the Summary, AFI Catalog viewed the 2005 “director’s cut,” which included material not in the theatrical version.
       End credits contain the following information: “Special thanks to: The Baltimore City Film Commission and to the citizens of Baltimore for their cooperation and assistance. Maryland State Film Commission; Maryland House of Correction; Al Teller; Valley Gun of Baltimore; Bostonian Bucks; Jody Graham Dunitz; Don Passman; Frank Oliver; Compu Weather; Beverly Marable.” Acknowledgments also state: "Life magazine logo and trademark used with permission of the Time Inc. Magazine Company."
       Director John Waters claimed he asked actor Paul Reubens, better known as children’s television show host “Pee-Wee Herman,” to play one of the “square” parents, according to the 18 May 1989 Providence Journal. Claiming Pee-Wee was “already square,” Reubens reportedly suggested he should instead portray sleazy photographer “Toe-Joe Jackson.” However, Reubens’ manager turned down the role because he perceived Toe-Joe to be a “pornographer.”
       The film’s unusual casting call described the character “Mona ‘Hatchet-Face’ Malnorowski” as having “the body of Jayne Mansfield and the face of Margaret Hamilton,” the 5 Mar 1989 LAT reported. Casting director Pat Moran told the 15 Mar 1989 LAHExam that Waters wanted Hatchet-Face to be “ugly but proud of it.”
       The 18 Apr 1989 HR noted that principal photography began the previous day. The film wrapped in very late Jun or early Jul 1989, according to the 5 Jul 1989 Philadelphia Inquirer. At a cost of $8 million, Cry-Baby was filmed in the Baltimore, MD, area and took fifty-nine days to shoot, the 11 Sep 1989 People reported. At least a third of those days were plagued by rain.
       In a 2005 “making of” documentary, producer Rachel Talalay claimed the film’s final cost, including advertising and promotion, was $12 million, more than all of John Waters’ previous films combined. Television “heartthrob” Johnny Depp alone was paid $1 million. Actress Traci Lords, a former underage star of X-rated movies and a potential witness in an ongoing federal pornography trial, evaded Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) process servers during production. She also met and married Brook Yeaton, the film’s prop master. Among the Baltimore-area locations were Milford Mill Park and Swim Club (standing in for “Turkey Point”); the Enchanted Forest theme park; the Maryland Correctional Institution in Jessup, MD; the Baltimore Police Department building (the film’s courtroom); the historic suburb of Sykesville; and Franklin Middle School in Reistertown, MD. Pick-up scenes were later shot north of Los Angeles, CA.
       During a prison scene, inmates watch the Universal-International film The Creature From the Black Lagoon (1954, see entry).
       The 16 Mar 1990 DV and 16 Mar 1990 USA Today reported that Cry-Baby premiered two days earlier in Baltimore. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Baltimore Sun
16 Jan 1991.
---
Chicago Tribune
18 May 1989
p. 24.
Daily Variety
16 Mar 1990.
---
Film Comment
July 1989
pp. 2-4.
Hollywood Reporter
18 Apr 1989.
---
Hollywood Reporter
2 Apr 1990
p. 7, 21.
LAHExam
15 Mar 1989.
---
Los Angeles Times
5 Mar 1989
p. 27, 30.
Los Angeles Times
6 Apr 1990
Section F, p. 6.
Minneapolis Star Tribune
24 May 1989
p. 2B.
New York Times
6 Apr 1990
p. 10.
Orange County Register
2 May 1989
Section F, p. 4.
Orange County Register
1 Mar 1990.
Section K, p. 4.
People Magazine
11 Sep 1989.
---
Philadelphia Inquirer
5 Jul 1989
Section E, p. 1.
Providence Journal
18 May 1989
Section G, p. 2
USA Today
16 Mar 1990.
p. 2D.
Variety
4 Apr 1990
p. 24.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
A Universal Picture
Imagine Entertainment Presents
A John Waters Film
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Unit prod mgr
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
2d 2d asst dir
DGA trainee
PRODUCERS
Exec prod
Exec prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Addl photog/Cam op
Cam op
1st asst cam
1st asst cam
2d asst cam
Addl cam op
Addl cam op
Addl cam op
Addl 1st asst cam
Addl 1st asst cam
Addl 2d asst cam
Addl 2d asst cam
Still photog
Video assist
Best boy elec
Generator op/Elec
Key grip
Best boy grip
Dolly grip
Olympian crane op
Musco Light tech
Musco Light tech
Video playback service
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Art dir
Art dept asst
Art dept asst
Graphic des
Graphic des
Storyboard artist
FILM EDITORS
Assoc ed
Asst ed
Asst ed
Apprentice ed
Negative cutter
SET DECORATORS
Set dresser
Set dresser
Prop master
Asst props
Const coord
Const coord
Scenic painter
Scenic painter
Carpenter
Carpenter
Carpenter
Carpenter
COSTUMES
Ward
Ward supv
Ward asst
Ward asst
Ward asst
Ward asst
Seamstress
Ward intern
MUSIC
Mus supv
Mus supv
Mus score comp by
Lip sync coach
Mus coord
Mus consultant
Mus consultant
Mus consultant
Mus clearance
Mus supv for MCA Records
Score rec by
Score orchs
Addl eng
Addl eng
Addl eng
Addl eng
Addl eng
Addl eng
Lyric adpts
Lyric adpts
Lyric adpts
Lyric adpts
SOUND
Prod sd
Sd playback
Sd prod asst
Audio post prod
Supv sd ed
Dial ed
ADR ed
ADR ed
Sd eff ed
Sd eff ed
Sd eff ed
Sd eff ed
Sd eff ed
Foley ed
Foley ed
1st asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Apprentice sd ed
Apprentice sd ed
ADR group coord
Re-rec facilities
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
ADR mixer
ADR rec
This film rec in a
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff coord
Spec eff
Spec eff
Titles des by
Titles and opticals
End title coord
DANCE
Choreog
Dance asst
Dance asst
Dance asst
MAKEUP
Hair des by
Makeup des
Hairstylist
Addl hair
Key makeup
Key makeup
Addl makeup
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Casting
Exec in charge of prod
Prod assoc
Post prod supv
Post prod scheduler
Prod coord
Scr supv
Prod accountant
Loc mgr
Asst loc mgr
Asst to Mr. Waters
Asst to Ms. Talalay
Loc asst
Loc intern
Post prod accountant
Asst accountant
Asst prod coord
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Unit pub
Picture car coord
Picture car coord
Helicopter pilot
Mechanic
Animal wrangler
Animal wrangler
Transportation coord
Transportation coord
Transportation capt
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Casting assoc
New York casting asst
New York casting asst
Baltimore casting asst
Baltimore casting asst
Baltimore casting asst
Baltimore casting asst
Craft service
Asst craft service
Asst craft service
Asst craft service
Life magazine logo and trademark used with permiss
Stage facilities provided by
STAND INS
Stunt coord
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
COLOR PERSONNEL
SOURCES
SONGS
"King Cry Baby," written by Doc Pomus & Dave Alvin, performed by James Intveld, additional vocals by Rachel Sweet, produced by Dave Alvin
"Doin' Time For Bein' Young, written by John David Souther & Waddy Wachtel, performed by James Intveld, produced by Dave Alvin
"High School Hellcats," written by Dave Alvin, performed by James Intveld, additional vocals by Rachel Sweet & Syd Straw, produced by Dave Alvin
+
SONGS
"King Cry Baby," written by Doc Pomus & Dave Alvin, performed by James Intveld, additional vocals by Rachel Sweet, produced by Dave Alvin
"Doin' Time For Bein' Young, written by John David Souther & Waddy Wachtel, performed by James Intveld, produced by Dave Alvin
"High School Hellcats," written by Dave Alvin, performed by James Intveld, additional vocals by Rachel Sweet & Syd Straw, produced by Dave Alvin
"Cry Baby," written by Morgan C. Robinson & Lawrence Robinson, performed by Beth Anderson, Suzie Benson, Rosemary Butler, & Terry Wood, produced by John Boylan
"Fingertips," written by Red Prysock, arranged and produced by John Boylan
"Sh-Boom," written by James Keyes, Claude Feaster, Carl Feaster, Floyd F. McRae & James Edwards, performed by Gerry Beckley, Timothy B. Schmit & Andrew Gold, produced by John Boylan
"A Teenage Prayer," written by Bix Reichner, Bernie Lowe, performed by Rachel Sweet, string arrangements by Charles Calello, produced by Al Kooper
"Teardrops Are Falling," written by The Five Wings, performed by James Intveld, produced by Al Kooper
"Bunny Hop," written by Ray Anthony, Leonard Auletti, performed by The Ray Anthony Band, produced by John Boylan
"Mister Sandman," written by Pat Ballard, performed by Rachel Sweet, Gerry Beckley & Timothy B. Schmit, produced by John Boylan
"Please, Mister Jailer," written by Wynona Carr, performed by Rachel Sweet, additional vocals by James Intveld, produced by Al Kooper. Additional songs (in order of appearance): "The Flirt," written by Leonard Lee & Earl Palmer, performed by Shirley and Lee, courtesy of Capitol Records Inc.
"Women In Cadillacs," written by Doc Starkes, performed by Doc Starkes & The Nite Riders, by arrangement with Apollo Records c/o Original Sound Entertainment, additional vocals by James Intveld
"Gee," written by William E. Davis & Morris Levy, performed by The Crows, courtesy of Rhino Records Inc., additional vocals by James Intveld
"Jungle Drums," written by Ernesto Lecounoa, Carmen Lombardo & Charles O'Flynn, performed by Earl Bostic, courtesy of G.M.L Inc., by arrangement with Celebrity Licensing
"(My Heart Goes) Piddily Patter, Patter," written by Charles Singleton & Rose Marie McCoy, performed by Nappy Brown, by arrangement with Savoy Jazz Inc., c/o Original Sound Entertainment
"I'm So Young," written by William "Prez" Tyus, performed by The Students, courtesy of MCA Records
"Cherry," written by Don Redman & Ray Gilbert, performed by The Jive Bombers, by arrangement with Savoy Jazz Inc., c/o Original Sound Entertainment
"In The Jailhouse Now," written by Jimmie Rodgers, performed by Webb Pierce, courtesy of MCA Records
"Jailbird," written by Bruce Morgan, performed by Sonny Knight, by arrangement with Deck Records c/o Original Sound Entertainment
"I'm A Bad, Bad Girl," written by Gladyces DeJesus, performed by Little Esther, courtesy of G.M.L Inc., by arrangement with Celebrity Licensing
"Nosey Joe," written by Mike Stoller & Jerry Leiber, performed by Bull Moose Jackson, courtesy of G.M.L Inc., by arrangement with Celebrity Licensing
"Rubber Biscuit," written by Charles Johnson, performed by The Chips, courtesy of Rhino Records Inc.
"Bad Boy," written by Lillian Armstrong, performed by The Jive Bombers, by arrangement with Savoy Jazz Inc., c/o Original Sound Entertainment.
+
DETAILS
Release Date:
6 April 1990
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles and New York openings: 6 April 1990
Production Date:
17 April--late June or early July 1989
Copyright Claimant:
Universal City Studios, Inc.
Copyright Date:
10 August 1990
Copyright Number:
PA479405
Physical Properties:
Sound
Dolby Stereo ® in Selected Theatres
Color
Duration(in mins):
85
Length(in feet):
7,692
MPAA Rating:
PG-13
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
30219
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In 1954, as high school students line up for “polio” vaccinations, rich girl Allison Vernon-Williams and “juvenile delinquent” Wade “Cry-Baby” Walker get their shots together. Looking into the eyes of the “bad boy” as he sheds a tear, Allison feels her heart skip a beat. After school, she tells herself she is tired of being a “good girl.” Allison approaches Cry-Baby, but her grandmother, Mrs. Vernon-Williams, drives between them in a Cadillac with Allison’s upper-class boyfriend, Baldwin, in the back seat. When Cry-Baby asks Mrs. Vernon-Williams if he can sing in her talent show at the R.S.V.P. Charm School, she tells him to stay away from her granddaughter. Driving home, Mrs. Vernon-Williams warns Allison that Cry-Baby has “evil in his blood,” and Baldwin reminds her that “Squares” like them never hang out with “Drapes” like Cry-Baby Walker. Cry-Baby overtakes them in his jalopy, playing loud music. His passengers are his unwed pregnant sister, Pepper Walker; runaway rockabilly bass player Milton Hackett; sexually precocious Wanda Woodward; and tough girl Mona “Hatchet-Face” Malnorowski. At the R.S.V.P. Charm School cotillion talent show, Mrs. Vernon-Williams tells her well-heeled teenagers to avoid degenerate Drapes and always remember the “four B’s”: beauty, brains, breeding, and bounty. Meanwhile, at the run-down Turkey Point Swim Club, Cry-Baby fends off the blatant romantic attentions of Lenora. The swim club’s owners are Uncle Belvedere and Ramona Ricketts, who fence stolen automobile parts. As a birthday gift, Ramona presents her grandson Cry-Baby with a new motorcycle, which she bought with the proceeds of “stolen hubcaps.” Cry-Baby climbs on the bike and proclaims triumphantly that he “met a girl” that day. Meanwhile, at the R.S.V.P. talent show, Baldwin’s clean-cut vocal group, ... +


In 1954, as high school students line up for “polio” vaccinations, rich girl Allison Vernon-Williams and “juvenile delinquent” Wade “Cry-Baby” Walker get their shots together. Looking into the eyes of the “bad boy” as he sheds a tear, Allison feels her heart skip a beat. After school, she tells herself she is tired of being a “good girl.” Allison approaches Cry-Baby, but her grandmother, Mrs. Vernon-Williams, drives between them in a Cadillac with Allison’s upper-class boyfriend, Baldwin, in the back seat. When Cry-Baby asks Mrs. Vernon-Williams if he can sing in her talent show at the R.S.V.P. Charm School, she tells him to stay away from her granddaughter. Driving home, Mrs. Vernon-Williams warns Allison that Cry-Baby has “evil in his blood,” and Baldwin reminds her that “Squares” like them never hang out with “Drapes” like Cry-Baby Walker. Cry-Baby overtakes them in his jalopy, playing loud music. His passengers are his unwed pregnant sister, Pepper Walker; runaway rockabilly bass player Milton Hackett; sexually precocious Wanda Woodward; and tough girl Mona “Hatchet-Face” Malnorowski. At the R.S.V.P. Charm School cotillion talent show, Mrs. Vernon-Williams tells her well-heeled teenagers to avoid degenerate Drapes and always remember the “four B’s”: beauty, brains, breeding, and bounty. Meanwhile, at the run-down Turkey Point Swim Club, Cry-Baby fends off the blatant romantic attentions of Lenora. The swim club’s owners are Uncle Belvedere and Ramona Ricketts, who fence stolen automobile parts. As a birthday gift, Ramona presents her grandson Cry-Baby with a new motorcycle, which she bought with the proceeds of “stolen hubcaps.” Cry-Baby climbs on the bike and proclaims triumphantly that he “met a girl” that day. Meanwhile, at the R.S.V.P. talent show, Baldwin’s clean-cut vocal group, the Whiffles, deliver a polite performance of “Sh-Boom” wearing white jackets and bow ties. Then, as Allison joins them onstage in a white evening gown to sing “Teenage Prayer,” Baldwin imagines her wearing a bridal dress. However, Allison sees only Cry-Baby’s face in the four faces of the Whiffles. Suddenly, Cry-Baby himself arrives outside on his motorcycle, wearing a black leather jacket, and asks to sing. Baldwin hits him, but Allison comes to Cry-Baby’s defense. She jumps on the back of his motorcycle and accompanies him to Turkey Point, where a Drapes dance party is in full swing. Hatchet-Face Malnorowski, Wanda Woodward, and Pepper Walker welcome Allison into the fold, tell her she needs a “new look,” and give her a Drapes make-over. They also perform as the Cry-Baby Combo, backing singer-guitarist Cry-Baby on a rockabilly song. Now dressed in “cool” Drapes clothes, Allison joins them onstage to prove she “ain’t no Square.” The jealous Lenora throws her panties at Cry-Baby, but he kicks them away. Later, as Allison and Cry-Baby “French kiss” on a blanket in a field, she confesses that she is an orphan whose parents were killed in two separate airplane crashes, and he confides that his parents were both executed on death row, an event he memorializes with a tattoo on his chest of an electric chair. Nearby, Baldwin and the Squares paint graffiti on the Drapes’ cars and set Cry-Baby’s motorcycle afire. A fight breaks out between Squares and Drapes, and riot police toss Allison and the Drapes into paddy wagons. In court, the judge releases most of the Drapes to their parents and Allison to her grandmother, but consigns Pepper Walker’s two young children to the Chatterbox Orphanage and sentences “ringleader” Cry-Baby to the Maryland Training School for Boys until his twenty-first birthday. As police drag Cry-Baby to jail, Lenora throws her arms around his neck and announces to the press that she is having his baby. That night, Cry-Baby and Allison cry in their beds. She collects her tears in a jar and drinks them, while he wipes his sole teardrop with a finger and licks it off. The next morning, seeing a front-page photograph of Lenora hugging Cry-Baby and hearing her proclaim her pregnancy on the radio, Allison is disgusted with herself for believing Cry-Baby’s lies. She rejoins Baldwin and the Whiffles as they serenade beneath her window, and agrees to sing at the opening of the new Enchanted Forest theme park. When Allison calls Cry-Baby a “cad and a liar” on the radio, he plans his jailbreak. Meanwhile, Wanda Woodward returns home to discover that her parents have “swapped” her for Inga, a Swedish exchange student, and expect Wanda to live in Sweden with Inga’s family. Wanda hitchhikes back to Turkey Point to rejoin the Drapes. In jail, Dupree, an African-American Drape, tattoos a “lonely teardrop” under Cry-Baby’s left eye. Later, Cry-Baby escapes through a grate into the prison sewer. Simultaneously, Milton and Hatchet-Face steal a helicopter, land in the jail yard, and run through the cell block looking to rescue Cry-Baby. Unable to find him, they jump into the back of a trash truck and are driven to freedom. Meanwhile, Cry-Baby follows a friendly rat that leads him out of the sewer and into a room full of prison guards, who are happy to see him. The rat laughs at Cry-Baby and disappears. Elsewhere, Belvedere, Ramona, and Pepper steal Pepper’s two children from the Chatterbox Orphanage, and release all the other children, too. The Drapes sneak into the Enchanted Forest theme park, where Allison is singing with the Whiffles. Belvedere jumps onstage and asks Allison to pick the man she wants: Baldwin or Cry-Baby. Lenora grabs a child’s doll and claims it is Cry-Baby’s child. With her grandmother in tow, Allison goes to the jail with the Drapes and sings a song begging the warden to let Cry-Baby go. The judge, romantically interested in Mrs. Vernon-Williams, frees the juvenile delinquent, and Allison and the Drapes greet him outside the jail. As the judge announces the Drape leader’s rehabilitation to reporters, Baldwin taunts Cry-Baby by bragging that his “granddaddy” pulled the switch on Cry-Baby’s father, and that Baldwin’s family still celebrates the execution every year. Cry-Baby challenges him to a “chicken race” between Cry-Baby’s jalopy and Baldwin’s car, but they have to ride on the roofs and let their best friends drive. With Belvedere at the wheel, several Drapes ride in Cry-Baby’s car, while the Whiffles climb into the other. As the cars race toward each other, Pepper delivers her baby in the back seat. The Squares “turn chicken” first and lose the race. Dupree speeds toward the victorious Cry-Baby with Allison on the back of his motorcycle. Slamming on the breaks, he sends her somersaulting through the air into Cry-Baby’s arms. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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